The best laptop backpack

The MEC Megabyte is light, tough and smartly laid out.  I’ve had mine for 8 years and not treated it kindly, yet its held up like a champ.  When I went to buy a replacement I got the bad news: The best laptop backpack is no longer available.

MEC seems to have gone back to only selling heavy strap covered crumple packs.

If I could find one of these packs brand new again I’d pay twice the original retail price – that’s how much I love this bag.

I didn’t actual realize how fantastic this pack was until I started trying other packs.  First was the Everki Flight Checkpoint Friendly Laptop Backpack

This is a larger pack, that I thought would make sense since it has lots of compartments, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have any higher carrying capacity than the megabyte.

Its actually easier to pack a weekends clothes into the megabyte becuase the interior isn’t split up. The Everki is also heavier, which makes a difference when you’re lugging stuff around.

So now I’ve got the Brenthaven Collins Convertible Backpack

This pack is closer in size to the MEC Megabyte. It just arrived so I’ll be trying it out over the next couple of weeks before I post a review, but my initial reaction is underwhelmed. Where the Megabyte had a streamlined sturdy strap at the top, the brenthaven has two handles that tuck into pouches which means they aren’t always available to grab the pack and go and when they are they look like they might be in the way.

Build quality and materials are good though, maybe it will just take a while for me to get used to the change. I’ll post my impressions after using this bag for a few weeks.

Next up on my list is a larger pack designed for camera gear: the Case Logic Kilowatt Sling Backpack

I recently ordered this pack to hold camera gear, but I’m interested in it’s potential as a more general computer / weekend / daypack.

For that use though the interior compartment layout and weight will be the main issues.

It looks to have an interesting layout and flexibility to use as a pack or sling. If nothing else I think it will be a good camera pack.

What I really want though is just to be able to get ahold of a replacement MEC Megabyte for when my old one finally bites the dust.

What about you? Do you have a laptop backpack that you’re happy with? I’d love to hear any recommendations for the perfect light / strong / compact laptop bag.

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